Over Phawhope bothy was bequeathed to the MBA. Photo: Jim Barton CC-BY-SA-2.0

Over Phawhope bothy was bequeathed to the MBA. Photo: Jim Barton CC-BY-SA-2.0

The men and women who care for Britain’s mountain bothies worked more than 1,200 days unpaid to keep the shelters available for walkers and outdoor enthusiasts.

John Arnott, chairman of the Mountain Bothies Association said the volunteers’ effort was ‘magnificent’.

The charity took on the care of three new shelters last year, though it also relinquished two others back to their owners.

Presenting MBA’s annual report, Mr Arnott said: “2012 was a very successful year for the association.

“We took on new buildings at Dryfehead in the Scottish Borders, Cruib on the Island of Jura, and Lluest Cwm Bach in the Elan Valley in Wales.

“Following major renovation work, Cruib is now available for use, while work continues on the other two new buildings.

“The Hutchison Memorial Hut in the Cairngorms was given a complete refurbishment. Shenavall, in the Scottish Highlands, which is one of our most used buildings, also received major improvement work.

“In all, we spent some £50,000 on materials, equipment and other expenses for our work parties.

“This level of expenditure demonstrates the commitment of members to spend their own time in preparation and planning for a project. It also shows the enthusiasm of our volunteers who participate in the work in all weathers.

“We recorded a total of 1,224 days of volunteer work for the year – a magnificent effort.

“Once again, I would like to record our appreciation for the support of the owners of the buildings that we maintain and their managers and staff.

“They co-operate with our maintenance work, assist with the delivery of materials to remote locations, help us in many other ways and of course they permit the buildings to be used as unlocked shelters.”

The MBA also took on its first ownership of a bothy when Over Phawhope in the Scottish Borders was left to it by its late owner, Harry Fairhurst.

The organisation, which formed in 1965, cares for 97 bothies which are available to use free of charge. The rudimentary shelters are spread throughout the wilder parts of Scotland, England and Wales.

It said, without its maintenance, many bothies would fall into disrepair.

The two bothies that were handed back to their owners were Glenbeg in north-west Scotland and Kielderhead in northern England.

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